In honor of turning 36, I’m sharing a letter I wrote to myself last year on my 35th birthday.
Birthdays mean so much to me, and here’s why:
It is the morning of August 14th, 2013 and today is my 35th birthday. It is barely sunrise and I want to get this all down before my day starts. We are spending our summer in Barcelona, and so my husband has planned a get away to the Girona, Spain, a lakeside town an hour away. I am sure we will eat somewhere lovely for dinner, and of course there will be delicious Spanish food and a white wine because it is summer and I love white wine in the summertime.
Today is also my twin sister’s birthday. We don’t look anything alike, but sharing a birthday with someone is a not so easy to describe yet concrete set of emotions, especially when that person is someone I have not spoken to for almost two years now.
There is a heartbreaking yet extremely delicate sliver of absence that washes over me on mornings like this. These are days I experience just a few times a year, when I crave, no actually when I hunger for home and what that means.
Since my younger brother died 13 years ago, I started seeing birthdays as my personal new year’s celebrations.
When August rolls around, I start thinking about what I want my year to look like until my next birthday, what I want to let go of, keep near and the risks I want to take.
When I turned 32, I had only one resolution: I wanted to be alive to celebrate my 33rd birthday. 33 is the year my older brother died, just a few years after my younger brother died, so I wanted to know what it was like to live longer than both of them ever did. Now I know.
The truth is, I don’t really know exactly what to say or write on my 35th birthday. There is nothing specific or necessary to explain to the people I love. But there is something important for me to be able to express, and that is this: More than anything my dear life (so far) has been a full and rich one. And, this birthday means something of so much significance to me for so many reasons, especially because this is the year I’m thinking of having children, the year I start a company, the year I learn how to say CEO as if it belongs comfortably on my tongue, the year I believe more and more in not only my right to be in this world but my purpose for being here.
Today I am 35 years old, married to a man I dearly love, in business with this same man, co-founding our start up company, publishing my second book, thinking about starting a family and deeply in love with the family that has become my own by experience and by a depth of love and acceptance I am so lucky to have in my life.
A few weeks ago I talked to my god mother, who reminded me of what I have accomplished in my life. I was having a tough day and she reminded me that I should go “read my resume” and that this would help me feel better. I have read that resume over and over again and I am beyond proud of the woman I am. I am in awe. If I read my story in the newspaper I would be in awe, so why not give that same acknowledgment to a story that is true and that belongs to me.
Today is my New Year’s Day. For the next year, my resolutions look something like this:
- be braver
- listen more
- love the most when you don’t feel like it
- bet on yourself first
- forgive yourself easily & often
- read your resume more often
- when you don’t feel like being brave, ask someone else to help you
- know that your life has always had a purpose & that each moment add to that
And so, Happy New Birthday Year to myself and the ones I love.